Radio Studentus Obtains Prolongation of the License from the BC in Spite of Filing the Application after the Legal Deadline

The broadcasting license of the Studentus radio station was prolonged for another nine years at the meeting of the Broadcasting Council (BC) held on August 18. The Council representatives stated that, when requesting prolongation of its license, Studentus had failed to comply with the deadline stipulated by the legislation and was almost two months late when filing the application. The decision to prolong the license was supported by five BC members out of seven. Eugeniu Ribca and Ruslan Mihalevschi, the two BC members who argued against prolonging the license, considered that such a decision contradicted similar precedents. Besides, according to Ribca, subsequently, the current composition of the Council could be dismissed for exceeding their authorities.

The National Council of Student Organizations of Moldova, the founder of Radio Studentus, addressed the BC demanding to extend the validity of the broadcasting license from August 9. According to the Code of Audiovisual Media Services (CAMS), upon request of the broadcasting license holder, its validity can be prolonged for a new term upon filing an application to the Council no more than six months and no less than three months before the expiry of the term it was granted for. According to the BC reporter who covered the issue during the meeting, the request by the Radio Studentus provider was filed almost two months later; hence, one of the legal provisions for prolonging the validity of the broadcasting license was breached.

Anatol Alexei, the representative of Radio Studentus who attended the BC meeting, invoked the lack of experience of the radio station. “We’ve been going through such an experience for the first time. (…) Radio Studentus belongs to the student organizations of Moldova which represent dozens of thousands of students. It’s a really good platform for students’ practice. Many students choose the path of journalism after their internship with us. I’d like to ask you to support the radio station because it is created by students and for students,” he explained.

“It looks serious to me, because voting for a decision for prolongation under these circumstances implies exceeding the service duties. I suppose we should not create any conditions for the Parliament related to existence or non-existence of legal grounds for dismissing the current composition of the BC,” BC member Eugeniu Ribca declared.

BC Vice-President Aneta Gonta emphasized the importance of the content produced by Radio Studentus for a niche audience. In spite of the breach of one of the legal provisions, she supported prolonging the license. “Apart from the letter, the law also has its intent. Each case should be analyzed individually, let’s not put everyone under the same roof. (…) At the distance of just a few kilometers from Chisinau, our local frequencies are intercepted by all sorts of foreign content which does not necessarily contribute to strengthening the national security of the Republic of Moldova. We have still not done anything about this fact; therefore, I consider that, in this context, it would be dangerous to deprive beneficiaries of information, of local contents, even for a day, or even for an hour,” she explained.

Liliana Vitu, president of the authority, invoked the importance of an individual approach and considering relevant aspects of each case. Besides, the Council regarded such facts that the delay in filing the license prolongation application was caused by the vacation, combined with the lack of experience of the radio station which had applied for prolongation for the first time, and that Studentus produces local content in Romanian for a less active audience such as young people as extenuating circumstances.

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